Friday, February 8, 2008

Battle Manfully for Southern Rights!!

Someone at Welch & Harris Book Binding had a knack for writing ad copy. Mining old city directories for ads related to the book trades for the American Book Trade Index, I have gone cross-eyed. Twice. I'm currently chasing a Civil War bookseller/ blockade runner/ preacher. In that hunt, I've come across what is to date, my favorite ad copy. Totally unrelated to the other gents I'm tracking, but interesting.

"Authors and Publishers of the South and West, take notice, that we are ready, with our armour on, to battle,MANFULLY, for SOUTHERN RIGHTS, by Binding editions of Books, in muslin, Plain or Gilt, from 1,000 copies, upwards."

By the mid-1850s, people were talking quite a bit of Southern Rights, and using all caps when they spoke of it too.

Manfully bound or no, it seems the business grew. By the beginning of the Civil War, the enterprise became Welch, Harris & Co. According to this 1861 Census, Welch, Harris & Co. was in a wood building at 63 Broad St. in 1861. Too bad no square footages are used to tell us if 63 Broad St. is bigger than 59 Broad St. They are both wood structures. Broad St. is defined as "Runs West from Cooper River to Ashley River, through Wards Nos. 1 and 2."

Tossing my penny searches into the wishing well of Google, I found at a few pages for sale, so apparently Welch and Harris did some printing as well:

[CONFEDERATE IMPRINT]. Piano Music......
Charleston, SC: Welch, Harris & Co., premium book binders, 1862. Title-page and index leaf only, printed to be used in binding a volume of sheet music. 4to. (4) pp. Title page printed in brown, red, green, and blue, and with a wide triple ornamental border; index leaf printed in blue and black. Not in Parrish & Willingham (cf. P&W 6719 for an 1861 issue of the same title page). Disbound; index leaf with 26 manuscript titles, soiled, a little edgewear, but a good example. (Book ID 50500) $250.00

Also via Google books I found Charles Newcomb Baxter. Confederate Literature: A List of Books and Newspapers, Maps, Music. Boston Athenaeum, 1917. In this digital xerox we find an Almanac for 1864 which mentions another logical sideline for Welch & Harris: book selling.

Miller's Planters' & Merchants' State Rights Almanac for 1864 by AE Miller. Printed, Published and Sold Wholesale & Retail by A.E. Miller, No. 351 King Street. Also sold by Welch & Harris, same place and by Booksellers generally throughout the state.

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